The Mojo Sculpin earned its name and a permanent place in the box the past couple seasons, turning the trick on early spring pre-spawn rainbows and also accounting for some nice brown trout. The hackle-head design works well to simulate the sculpin profile while providing a natural color blend and much breath and pulse, creating the illusion of mass, without bulk. Sinks quicker than a clipped deer hair muddler head.
Prior to the writings of G.E.M Skues emphasizing the importance of the nymph, most of the old English wetflies and Yorkshire spiders were dressed to simulate the adult phase of waterborn naturals, a phase that, at times, can be more important than the nymph, particularly with larger insects like green drake, October caddis, or the larger stonefly species producing seasonal emergences and a lot of adults accumulating through the hatch season.
In the West, skwala stoneflies signal the beginning of the year’s parade of water-born insects and are a real opportunity for hatch-matching while there is still snow on the ground.
There are many commercially made shanks available, but customizing mine by cutting the shank to the right length proved to be a huge benefit when designing winter steelhead flies that are easy to cast and effective at getting into the zone quickly.
“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt
Recently shifting a lot of my tying focus to Trout Spey, I realized that I still had an abundance of fur in the 2.5-3-inch range; perfect for the trout flies I desired. And the Scandi-style was the perfect recipe for a decent-sized, lightly weighted fly that would still cast easily on any light trout rod and line. Bingo.
In Eric Taverner’s Salmon Fishing (1931), when discussing the merits of the Akroyd he is quoted as saying, “This is a hard-wearing and killing fly, especially if pains have been taken to dress it neatly and sparingly, so that the body has the appearance of slimness, lightly clad with luminous filmy robes. I would cheerfully put my trust in and even my money on a well-dubbed Akroyd for any river, when the water was at a suitable height.”
Heisenberg” as a blue fly name should make sense to anyone who has seen Breaking Bad. If you haven’t, “Heisenberg” was the alias of the high school chemist turned meth cooker, Walter White. His meth was the best, and it was also blue. According to Brian Clemens, a northern California guide who spends a lot of the fall and winter on the Trinity River, “There’s nothing like breaking out the bad, and swinging the Heisenberg – the fish hit it like they are hitting meth.” He also adds, “It’s addicting.”
Don’t be fooled by this fly’s simplicity. Designed for movement, the Night Terror undulates and pulses in the current without losing bulk and profile – and to top it off, it is easy to cast!
For me, nothing speaks more of steelhead fishing than a brightly colored, finely ribbed, steelhead Spey fly topped with a graceful set of hackle tip wings—a perfect example of form and function. These captivating patterns take us back to the days of Syd Glasso, whose tying would inspire untold scores of anglers to strive for perfection at the vise in an attempt to present the magnificent steelhead with something worthy.
Part I It has been nearly 150 years since the ova were imported from a tributary of California’s McCloud River to the Caledonia fish hatchery near Mumford, New York, that initiated the Great Lakes steelhead fishery. And whether you consider these creatures steelhead or simply lake-run rainbows, … Become a member of Swing the Fly […]
By Sean Dahlquist I love my fly tying books. I’ve collected dozens over the years and am always seeking more. They are the first thing I reach for in my library; every so often I’ll be flipping through the pages of an old favorite for the hundredth time when, suddenly, I am struck by a […]